Enzyme Engineering XXV

An ECI Conference Series

September 15-19, 2019
Whistler Resort
Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

Important Information for Participants — Know Before You Go

Enzyme Engineering 2019 Awardee: Huimin Zhao

Register Now!               Final Program with Posters

Posters should not be more than 44.75 in. wide and 48 in. long (1.14 m x 1.22 m).
Poster pins will be supplied.

The conference hotel is sold out. Only registration without hotel accommodations is available.  Please register for the conference but book accommodations on your own.

Link for Hotels in Whistler

Please contact Kathy Chan (kathy@engconfintl.org) with any questions.

Canadian Visa Information

Please forward this link to colleagues who may be interested in the conference topic.

About This Conference

Enzyme Engineering Conference is the leading international forum for discussion of enzyme engineering technology and applications. Enzyme Engineering XXV marks a special occasion as it is the 25th anniversary of this series started in 1971. Experts from around the globe will be on hand to present on a range of topics that should spark stimulating discussions. The specific topics that will be discussed at this meeting should be of interest to experts in the field and those who are just getting started or want to learn how enzyme engineering could be applied to their research.


  • Biocatalysis and enzymology, Scott France, Pfizer
  • Enzyme promiscuity, evolution and dynamics, Yan Feng, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • New tools for enzyme engineering, Daniela Grabs, Arzeda
  • Enzyme engineering for biomedical applications, Stefan Lutz, Emory University
  • Enzyme engineering for industrial applications, Vesna Mitchell, Codexis
  • Design and engineering of artificial enzymes, Ulrich Schwaneberg, RWTH-Aachen
  • Enzyme engineering and synthetic biology, Doug Fuerst, GSK


David Baker, University of Washington, Research Website 
Michelle Chang, UC Berkeley, Research Website
Shelley Copley, CIRES, Research Website
Adrienne Davenport, BASF
Bernhard Hauer, University of Stuttgart, Research Website
Jiali Gao, University of Minnesota,  Research Website
Florian Hollfelder, University of Cambridge, Research Website
Akihiko Kondo, Kobe University, Research Website
Yi Lu, University of Illinois,  Research Website
Jeff Moore, Merck
Joelle Pelletier, University of Montreal, Research Website
Nick Turner, University of Manchester, Research Website
Thomas Ward, University of Basel, Research Website
James Wells, UCSF, Research Website

Click on This Link to view the last conference in this series.

Conference Organization

Conference Chairs:  

Huimin Zhao, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
John Wong, Pfizer

Steering Committee

Yasuhisa Asano, Toyama University
Bob DiCosimo, DuPont
Pierre Monsan, Toulouse White Biotechnology
Jeff Moore, Merck
Magali Remaud-Simeon, LISBP-INSA, University of Toulouse
Jon Stewart, University of Florida
John Wong, Pfizer
Huimin Zhao, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2019 Enzyme Engineering Award

Dr. Huimin Zhao is the Steven L. Miller Chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and professor of chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, and bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He received his B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1992 and his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1998 under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Frances Arnold. Prior to joining UIUC in 2000, he was a project leader at the Industrial Biotechnology Laboratory of the Dow Chemical Company. He was promoted to full professor in 2008. Dr. Zhao has authored and co-authored over 300 research articles and over 25 issued and pending patent applications with several being licensed by industry. In addition, he has given plenary, keynote or invited lectures in over 370 international meetings, universities, industries, and research institutes. Twenty-six (26) of his former graduate students and postdocs became professors or principal investigators in the United States (10), China (11), Korea (2), Singapore (2), and Egypt (1).

Dr. Zhao has made profound contributions to enzyme engineering. He pioneered the development of many directed evolution methods for engineering enzymes for industrial applications. For example, he invented the staggered extension process (StEP) in vitro recombination method which was licensed by Maxygen and used by many academic laboratories around the world. He also invented the targeted site saturation mutagenesis method which has been widely used for engineering enzyme specificity and selectivity (enantio-, regio-, and chemo-). Moreover, the in vitro co-evolution method he invented was adopted by Merck and Codexis to create a transaminase mutant with novel substrate specificity for commercial synthesis of the blockbuster anti-diabetes drug sitagliptin. By using directed evolution, he developed a novel phosphite dehydrogenase based enzymatic system to regenerate cofactors NAD(P)H, which made many oxidoreductases useful for preparative synthetic applications. Notably, five of his publications (he was the first author on four of them) were cited in the scientific background document prepared by the Nobel Prize committee for the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In recent years, Dr. Zhao pioneered the development of directed evolution methods for engineering biochemical pathways and whole genomes, and has made foundational contributions to multiple research areas including synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, and natural product discovery.

Dr. Zhao received numerous awards such as Marvin Johnson Award (2018), Biotechnology Progress Award for Excellence in Biological Engineering Publication (2017), Charles Thom Award (2016), Elmer Gaden Award (2014), Guggenheim Fellowship (2012), the American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Biochemical Technology Young Investigator Award (2008), DuPont Young Professor Award (2005), and National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2004).  He is an elected Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers. He served as a consultant for over 10 companies and a Scientific Advisory Board member of Gevo, Myriant Technologies, Toulouse White Biotechnology, and AgriMetis.

Printable Version

Abstract Submission

One-page abstracts should be submitted as soon as possible and no later than the deadlines noted below. The abstract should include both the significance of the research as well as results that will be discussed in order to allow a scientific assessment of the work by the organizers. Please indicate the two most relevant topics for which you are submitting your abstract and whether the abstract should be considered for an oral or poster presentation.

The specific topics will include:

  • Biocatalysis and enzymology
  • Enzyme promiscuity, evolution and dynamics
  • New tools for enzyme engineering
  • Enzyme engineering for biomedical applications
  • Industrial applications of enzyme engineering
  • Design and engineering of artificial enzymes
  • Enzyme engineering and synthetic biology

Only a limited number of oral presentation slots are available. Thus all submissions for oral sessions will be considered for both oral and poster presentation.

All abstracts should be submitted electronically here and submissions must follow the template provided at that link.

Deadline for abstracts for oral presentations:                   Closed
Deadline for abstracts for poster presentations:               Closed

Posters should not be more than 44.75 in. wide and 48 in. long (1.14 m x 1.22 m). 

Poster pins will be supplied.

Awards will be presented for the overall best poster and for the top three student posters.

Major Sponsors

Sponsor Opportunities

Click HERE to view the opportunities to sponsor this conference.

Conference Venue

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada– Whistler is Canada’s premier four-season mountain destination.  It is at the epicenter of green initiatives as it has achieved APEX/ASTM sustainability certification in four areas, the first Canadian destination to receive this prestigious designation. Whistler is a pedestrian village with easy transportation from the Vancouver International Airport, thus no rental cars are needed.  The conference technical sessions and meals will be held at the Whistler Conference Center, the signature group venue of Whistler.

With mountain backdrops providing stunning vistas, numerous 19AE Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centeractivities await conference participants. These activities range from hiking, mountain biking, e-biking, rafting, zip-lining, kayaking, and golf to visiting the award winning Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center, a unique Aboriginal cultural center.  Also worthy of a visit is the Audain Art Museum which features an outstanding permanent 19AE Audain Art Museumboutique collection of historical and contemporary Northwest Coast art, complimented with changing world-class temporary exhibitions.

Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa- All conference participants will be staying at the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa.  The hotel is set in a beautiful location in the heart of Whistler village, very close to the Whistler Conference Center.  It is newly renovated with spacious rooms, high-speed Internet access, a 24-hour fitness center, tennis court, heated outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, an award-winning spa, and self-service laundry facilities.  Many of the rooms have a full-size refrigerator, microwave and cooktop.

Although the conference sessions will occupy much of your time, please go to Things To Do In Whistler to see the wide variety of activities available.  These activities range from the art museum through zip-lining. Information on all the activities can be found there as well as the opportunity to sign up.  In some cases, discount coupons are available.



Shuttle: For shuttle transportation from the Vancouver Airport to Whistler, ECI recommends making a reservation with YVR Skylynx.  Use their map (Map of Whistler) and timetable (SkyLynx Schedule)/(SkyLynx Rates) for planning.  A reservation form can be found HERE. To receive a 15% discount, please enter the promo code “EEXXV” during checkout.  This discount is available from September 6 through September 28. Drop-off in Whistler is at Whistler Gateway (Zone 1) Door-to-Door Dropoff to the Hilton Spa and Resort (Zone 2) will cost an additional CDN$10.50, or it is about a 5-10 minute walk.

Private Car Service: Private Car service is available from these recommended service providers:

  1. Griffin Transportation www.griffintransportation.com.  Toll Free +1 (877) 369-5466
  2. Star Limousine www.starlimousine.com. Toll-Free +1 (800) 803-9222

Note:  One-way trip by private car may cost about CDN$600.

Rental Cars: All major rental car services have facilities at the Vancouver Airport.  Without traffic, the drive takes just over two hours.  Use Google maps for directions.  Please note that there is a parking charge at the Hilton Hotel. (Nightly, secured underground parking is currently available at a discounted rate of CDN$27 per night (plus 5% GST) and these rates are available three days prior as well as three days after the conference.

Conference Fees and Registration

The conference hotel is sold out. Only registration without hotel accommodations is available.  Please register for the conference and book accommodations on your own.

Please contact Kathy Chan (kathy@engconfintl.org) with any questions.

Conference Fees

All conference fees are inclusive. They include registration, accommodations (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights), all meals (with the exception of Wednesday dinner) and taxes from dinner on Sunday through the gala dinner on Thursday. The hotel will bill Incidental fees (minibar, laundry, etc.) to your personal account.


The conference fees are:

Register on or before August 15, 2019 Register after

August 15, 2019

Participant (single occupancy or sharing room with a guest; guest fee additional) US $2,700.00 US $2,900.00
Participant (sharing a room with another participant) US $2,255.00 US $2,455.00
Bona fide Graduate Student (sharing a room with another student) (Those in this category must send proof of current status – copy of current Student ID can be faxed to 1-212-514-6030 or emailed to Kathy@engconfintl.org) US $1,840.00 US $2,040.00
**Fees for Guest/accompanying person sharing bedroom with single occupancy participant. (A guest badge will be issued and this fee includes all conference meals.) US $865.00 US $865.00

If you plan to bring children to the conference, please contact ECI (info@engconfintl.org) for pricing.

Conference Registration

You will need a login name and password to register for ECI conferences through our online system. If you have been a recent participant at an ECI conference or have submitted an online application or request for information about an ECI Conference, you may already have an account with us. If you know your login information, please use it.

If you are not certain if you already have a login and password, please click on automated password retrieval and enter your e-mail address before creating a new account. If we do not have a valid email address on file for you, a pop up window will appear stating that no records were located. Click “OK” and then follow the instructions to create a new account.

Pre-and Post-Conference Reservations

If you are planning to arrive early (before September 15 or to stay after the conference (after September 19), you MUST make hotel reservations directly with the hotel.  Use the appropriate form on THIS PAGE to make your reservations.

If you have any questions or experience any difficulties, please email kathy@engconfintl.org.

Special Notes for Payment

We suggest that you register as soon as possible to be certain that you will have a hotel room at the conference rate.  Late registrations will be accepted on a space available basis and late registrants may be housed in a nearby hotel.

All participants are encouraged to register before August 15, 2019.  There is a discounted price for registering before this date.  Hotel space cannot be guaranteed for registrations received after this date.  Your registration is not officially confirmed until we receive payment of the amount due.  ECI reserves the right to cancel your room registration if payment is not received. Your invoice/receipt will automatically be e-mailed upon of receipt of your registration.  Should you need a signed receipt, please contact Kathy Chan (kathy@engconfintl.org).

Because of contractual guarantees made with the hotel for room and meal functions, no shows, late arrivals, missed meals and early departures cannot receive fee adjustments.  If you have a disability and may require accommodation in order to participate fully in this conference, please indicate this when you register. An ECI representative will contact you to discuss your specific needs. If you have special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian or a food allergy), please make a note on your registration.  The chef needs to know this information in advance if we are to accommodate you. ECI will attempt to accommodate special requests such as Kosher or Halal meals, but such meals may not be available at all conference sites. The participant must pay any additional costs for special meal requests to ECI.

Payment must be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, and Amex), check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. dollars, payable to ENGINEERING CONFERENCES INTERNATIONAL. Checks or money orders in any other currencies are NOT ACCEPTABLE.  Payment must be made on the web site except for those who are sending payment by wire transfer or have a purchase order from their company/institution.

WIRE TRANSFER PAYMENT: If you are planning to make payment by wire transfer, please contact ECI for the bank information. You must add $30 to cover ECI bank charges. Please reference your full name and the conference title.  Either fax a copy of your bank transfer papers to ECI (Fax: +1-212-514-6030) or email a scanned copy to kathy@engconfintl.org.  This is very important – otherwise it is extremely difficult to trace your payment and you may not receive a receipt prior to the conference.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation must be received by ECI in writing at least 28 days prior to the start of the conference in order for a full refund (less a processing fee) to be considered. The ECI auditors require that refunds for all conference cancellations be processed after the conference so that the necessary back-up information (e.g., hotel list of those in-house) can be attached to the refund request and ECI can verify that the hotel has not charged a cancellation fee.

Cancellation fees:

  • Cancellations received more than 28 days prior to the conference start date are subject to a processing fee of 4% of the total fee, plus any direct expenses incurred by ECI.
  • Cancellations received 15 – 28 days prior to the conference start date are subject to a $250 cancellation fee plus any direct expenses incurred by ECI.
  • Cancellations received 8 – 14 days prior to the conference start date are subject to a $500 cancellation fee plus any direct expenses incurred by ECI.
  • No refunds will be issued for cancellations received less than 7 days prior to the conference start date.
  • No refunds will be issued due to inclement weather or travel disruptions/cancellations.

Registrations may be transferred without incurring any penalty or cancellation fee.

Denied or delayed visa

If a participant is forced to cancel due to a denied or delayed entry visa, ECI will issue a full refund if ECI has been notified of a potential visa issue at least four weeks prior to the conference start date.

Change of payment method

If an attendee who has already paid the conference fee with a credit card requests that the fee be refunded to that card so that it can be paid in a different manner (e.g., charged to an alternate credit card, or paid via check or bank transfer), a processing fee of 4% of the total fee amount will apply.


It may be necessary for reasons beyond the control of ECI to alter the content and timing of the program or the identity of the speakers. In the unfortunate circumstance that an event is cancelled, ECI is not liable for any costs incurred by participants in connection with their attendance.

Smoking is prohibited at ECI conferences and conference functions.

Should you have specific questions regarding your registration, please contact Kathy Chan (Kathy@engconfintl.org).

Final Program

Click This Link to view the final program and the list of posters.

Register Now!

Use THIS LINK to register for this conference.

The conference hotel is sold out. Only registration without hotel accommodations is available.  Please register for this conference but book accommodations on your own. 

Link for Hotels in Whistler

Please contact Kathy Chan (kathy@engconfintl.org) with any questions.

General Information about ECI

Engineering Conferences International (ECI) is a not-for-profit, global engineering conferences program, originally established in 1962 that provides opportunities for the exploration of problems and issues of concern to engineers and scientists from many disciplines.

The format of the conference provides morning and late afternoon or evening sessions in which major presentations are made. Poster sessions will be scheduled for evening discussion as well. Available time is included during the afternoons for ad hoc meetings, informal discussions, and/or recreation. This format is designed to enhance rapport among participants and promote dialogue on the development of the meeting. We believe the conferences have been instrumental in generating ideas and disseminating information to a greater extent than is possible through more conventional forums.

All participants are expected both to attend the entire conference and to contribute actively to the discussions. The recording/photographing of lectures and presentations is forbidden. As ECI conferences take place in an informal atmosphere, casual clothing is the usual attire.

Smoking is prohibited at ECI conferences and conference functions.

Engineering Conferences International
32 Broadway, Suite 314, New York, NY 10004
T: 1-212-514-6760 F: 1-212-514-6030
E: info@engconfintl.org